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Frank Zappa - The Ark CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.39 | 27 ratings

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3 stars Another bootleg which was "stolen" back by Frank Zappa and sold as a single CD and also as the 2nd disc in the Beat the Boots I collection. There are a few stories circulating around about the recording of this bootleg, one of which is that the venue (the Ark) set up it's own recording equipment for Frank and when Frank went to get the master tapes, they had somehow disappeared. Other sources say that Frank had his own copies but the bootlegged version got released before the release date for the official version. The copy that was eventually legalized and added as part of the Beat the Boots collection is supposedly a copy of the bootleg.

The recording quality is not perfect as what you would find in an official release and doesn't even come close to Frank Zappa's standards, even for something that was recorded in 1969. (The date of 1968 printed on the album is incorrect btw.) I would call the recording "fair". Whats nice about this particular bootleg is that it was all recorded at one concert and there are a few old gems on here. It's great to hear Frank Zappa conversing with the audience throughout the recording. I do believe that this is the only live recording available that has Frank Zappa singing the lyrics to "Status Back Baby" but I could be wrong. Also, if you listen closely to "Some Ballet Music" you will hear snippets of future music including "The Adventures of Greggary Peccary" among others. Despite the less-than-optimal sound quality here, you can still feel the excitement and the excellence of the musicianship especially on the side long medley of Uncle Meat/King Kong. This almost 24 minute long suite goes by much too quickly. The bootlegger apparently ran out of tape or time on both sides of this recording because the jams are both interrupted, one side by a needle scraping across a record and the other side by some other kind of tape noise. If you have "melted into the jams" as I am inclined to do, these interruptions will most likely scare the crap out of you. But it's all good. If you are looking to expand your FZ collection, then, even for a bootleg, this is one you might want to look for more for historical content than for hysterical content. Good album, great performances, fair quality recording, make this a good but non-essential album for FZ and the Mothers fans.

TCat | 3/5 |


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